Fergusson urges rethink over breakthrough prostate cancer drug

ALEX Fergusson, MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, has signed a parliamentary motion calling on the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to reconsider its decision not to recommend breakthrough prostate cancer drug abiraterone for use on the NHS in Scotland.

Abiraterone is a ground breaking new treatment that can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer and improve their quality of life by significantly reducing pain and other symptoms. The drug has been recommended for use on the NHS in England and Wales, but the Scottish Medicines Consortium has rejected it for routine use on the NHS in Scotland.

Alex Fergusson MSP said: “Abiraterone is a once-in-a-generation breakthrough prostate cancer drug which can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer and improve their quality of life. When effective, men who were previously bed-ridden on high doses of morphine have told The Prostate Cancer Charity that they can come off pain relief altogether and recommence a more normal day to day routine during the final months of their life.

“Abiraterone is recommended for use on the NHS in England and Wales, but not in Scotland. It seems ridiculous that such a successful treatment that was developed in the UK is available but is being denied to men in Scotland when they need it most. This is why I urge the Scottish Medicines Consortium to reconsider its decision and make abiraterone available as a matter of urgency.”

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “The SMC’s cruel and unjust decision to deny abiraterone on the NHS in Scotland is a bitter blow to hundreds of men dying of prostate cancer. The decision simply must be overturned, and we are delighted that Alex has joined a growing cross party coalition of MSPs calling for exactly that outcome. The SMC has no time to waste in changing this decision as, for the men who desperately need this treatment, time is very much of the essence.”

To support the campaign for abiraterone to be made available on the NHS in Scotland please visit: www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/smc